India’s cricketing mess merits some hard decisions from Sandeep Patil’s national selection committee when they meet to pick the T20 and ODI squads for the series against Pakistan commencing on Christmas Day.
There is uncertainty over the availability of Sachin Tendulkar, who was short of runs against England in the just concluded Test series. Tendulkar is not exactly a regular in the one-day squad now and opted out of India’s last ODI assignment — at Sri Lanka in July-August.
He played the Asia Cup in Bangladesh where he reached his 100th ton against the hosts and was part of the triangular series team that flopped in Australia. However, after India’s win in the 2011 World Cup, he did not figure in the series against West Indies (away and home 2011) and England (away and home 2011).
Experts and former players have been brutal in their assessment of his one-day future. “Sachin has to ask himself whether he is good enough to play one-day cricket day in and day out; whether it’s helping him missing tournaments and playing a one-day series after eight-nine months,” Ganguly had told Headlines Today in the midst of the 2011-12 triangular series in Australia.
Legend Kapil Dev reckoned that the 463-ODI veteran should have quit the one-day scene after achieving his World Cup goal. Sure, the wise men of Indian cricket don’t have an easy issue to deal with. On one hand, the selectors must pick the best equipped squad to tackle Pakistan. Tendulkar (39) fits the bill here going by his experience and ability. But on the other, he appears out of form and in-form players must be backed.
Furthermore, the selectors must look ahead with the next World Cup in 2015. Tendulkar’s ambitions and drive cannot be underestimated, but it is unlikely he will be around then. In many ways, Tendulkar’s one-day future is under more focus than Test match cricket. Considering all these factors, the selectors could well decide to play safe and not to rock the boat before a massive series.
There’s a good chance in Sehwag playing the ODIs as well although the selectors will be more open in being adventurous when it comes to picking the team for two T20 internationals against the old enemy. So expect the emphasis to be on picking younger, more agile players than reputed big-hitters and big wicket-takers.